Hundreds of U.S. nursing homes this year are reporting their very first cases of COVID-19 after avoiding any cases all of last year. That 437 nursing homes experienced their very first cases of COVID this year — while fending them off during the horror of 2020 — is among the clear indications that this pandemic isn’t over.
There are many reasons for optimism, particularly the huge turnaround that started in the second half of December when vaccines started rolling out. Our research found that the vaccine rollout led to a decline in nursing home cases exceeding 80 percent. But this is not a time to act irresponsibly or get overly confident.
Since last May, nursing homes have been expected every week to report to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services nearly 100 pieces of data related to COVID-19, including diagnosed cases, deaths, tests, PPE shortages and shortages of nurses, aides and clinical staff, which includes doctors.
At any point in time, there are about 1.3 million people with short-term rehabilitation needs or long-term illnesses who reside in the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. Click here to see our findings during the period we examined, from May 31, 2020, through Feb. 7, 2021.